Let’s face it, bad breath is embarrassing. The good news is that for the most part—with proper dental care—bad breath, also called halitosis, can be avoided. Maintaining good oral health is essential to reducing bad breath, as bacteria that builds up on the back of your tongue or in between your teeth is the main culprit. Bad breath can be caused by foods, smoking, dry mouth, medical conditions, gum disease, and sinus conditions. No wonder dental hygiene is such big business.
If your halitosis hangs on for more than 24 hours without an obvious cause, call your dentist or doctor, says Roger P. Levin, D.D.S. It can be a sign of gum disease, gastrointestinal problems, sinus infection, bronchitis, or even more serious diseases, such as diabetes, liver or kidney failure, and cancer. Bad breath can also be a sign of dehydration or zinc deficiency,.
Roger P. Levin, D.D.S., is the chief executive officer of the Levin Group, a dental practice in Baltimore, Maryland and Phoenix, Arizona.
Eric Shapira, D.D.S., M.A., M.H.A., is a dental consultant, clinical gerontologist, and educator based in Montara, California. He is the founder of Aging Mentor Services, which provides counseling and care management to older adults and family in transition.
Jerry F. Taintor, D.D.S., M.S., is an endodontist in private practice in Memphis, Tennessee. He is the author of The Complete Guide to Better Dental Care.